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Have patience with Weis

Letter to the Editor | Friday, November 21, 2008

While I understand that Notre Dame fans are very impatient when it comes to head coaches, I believe that many fans (Iacovo and Sullivan, “Weis Accountable,” Nov. 18, included) are missing the point when it comes to Weis’ job.

We have all heard the complaints about the record against teams with winning records. We have all heard the complaints about our team’s lack of a “signature game.” What students and fans like Iacovo and Sullivan fail to realize is that the process of building a football team can be painful and slow.

Iacovo and Sullivan bring up several instances where they question Weis’ decisions. Let me be the first to say that I absolutely hate the Wildcat offense. However, if Weis decides to run a play from this formation, who would you rather have with the ball besides Tate? He is one of the fastest players on the team and its pretty obvious that the player taking the snap isn’t supposed to be a real passing threat. That’s why defenses are taught to stop the run first in that formation. Suggesting that Tate has to be a good passer in order to run that formation is ridiculous. Any pass made from the formation would only work if the receiver is wide open.

Secondly, Weis took out his starters because he wanted to respect Navy as well as give his younger players some real game experience. I agree that it happened a little too early, but his motive was correct. His gamble to run a play on fourth down was in an effort to not let Navy have the ball back. If we got a first down on that play, the game was over.

As for the example where you bring up about the Sugar Bowl and faking a punt, Weis knew that we were pretty big underdogs in that game. A fake punt is the type of play where if it succeeds, it completely changes the game in our favor and he was looking for any sort of upper hand that he could find.

What this issue comes down to is that our football team needs to show improvement, and it has. Our team has scored over eight more points per game this season than last while allowing eight fewer per game. Our running game has increased 50 yards per game while giving up 60 fewer yards per game. We’re passing for almost 80 more yards per game than last year. In total offense, we’ve increased by 130 yards per game. Our sacks have dropped from 58 last year to 14 this year. You might just dismiss these stats, but it shows remarkable improvement from last year.

The issue of Charlie Weis comes down to recognizing improvement and being patient with the system. You might not be happy because you’re leaving at the end of this year and you want immediate results. Too bad, it won’t happen.

Last year we had very few upperclassmen that made a difference on the roster. This year we are still extremely young. Our top three receivers include two sophomores and one freshman. Our top two running backs are sophomores. Our quarterback is a sophomore. Where do you think the leadership is coming from?

Results don’t just happen when you have a very young team. We saw what Charlie could do when he has some upperclassman leadership. Wait until next year to judge Charlie’s coaching job, and if he still isn’t performing up to your standards, at that point you can claim to be disappointed. It is simply ridiculous to hold a coach to extremely high standards when he puts that young of a team on the field every week.

Todd Henkel


off campus

Nov. 18